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As a multilingual Korean immigrant, navigating academic spaces has been a challenging, slow process of recognizing and reclaiming my own cultural and linguistic backgrounds as assets. In that difficult journey was every teacher and mentor I had who invited me to write and read about my Korean heritage and languages as academic knowledge. Having the experiences of centering my literacy backgrounds in writing greatly shaped my pedagogy and learning goals for my students. My goals as a teacher are, thus, to (1) responsibly engage and attend to the lived experiences, perspectives, and expertise of students and (2) facilitate critical understanding of writing and literacy—asking them: what does it mean for you to communicate well based on your experiences in your communities? To achieve these goals, I draw on both asset-based (explicit centering of students’ experiences as knowledge in writing) and process-based approaches to writing (enacting agency through decision-making in writing process as opposed to ‘following’ directions).


Asset-Based Writing

In my First-Year Writing class,  students write an autobiographical narrative on their literacy experiences to understand themselves in relation to others (i.e., how their literacies and identities are constantly shaped, negotiated, valued, judged, and treated in communities, society, and power structures). In these critical narratives, students name their experiences in sociocultural contexts.


In Preparation for College Writing class geared toward multilingual and heritage language writers, students write a similar narrative, but focused on their literacy experiences with language difference, diversity, and inclusion/exclusion. In the writing of these narratives, students problematize racio/linguistic inequity they experienced instead of seeing their own languages and literacies as the ‘problem.’

Process-Based Writing

In research-focused writing class, each student is a researcher of their chosen topic area. Through scaffolded activities and assignments, they practice how to curate research questions, read existing literature and write about them in conversation with their own research questions, reassessing and revising their research scope and questions in that process. Students conduct a mini-study (e.g., interviews, surveys, and observations), analyze the results, and come to their own conclusions and implications of what they found out. In these process-based research writings, students experience the ‘messiness’ of writing (i.e., recursive nature of research and a writing research project) while being in charge of their topic selected from their own interests and identities, rather than being “assigned” to write something. At the end of the semester, students become experts in their topics and celebrate their research journeys in presentations.


I designed and facilitated an interdisciplinary reading group, "Language and Literacy in Transnational Context," as an honors option for MC 231: Cultures and Politics in Transnational Perspective. The goal of the reading group was, beyond the large class, to critically examine what roles language and literacy play in shaping sociocultural ideologies in language
hierarchies, identities, and global and local social injustice. 

Outside of the reading group, I invited students to co-create a multimedia project with me based on our discussions throughout the semester. Coming from various transnational and multicultural heritage, we chose to create a podcast series, storytelling our lived experiences entangled with the language inequity covered in the reading group while centering our language-minoritized voices. 

Teaching as Reflexive Practice

In all of these pedagogical practices, I often reflect and reevaluate how I am honoring or not honoring students’ expertise in classroom management (am I actively building communities and safe space?) and policies (does my labor-based grading and feedback giving align with values of equity and justice?). It is indeed a process—a process that leads me to teach in ways that are constantly evolving to meet students’ goals and desires in learning as well as their ways of knowing and being.

Teaching Effectiveness

Quantitative Average

Below is a summary of quantitative data from Michigan State University students’ anonymous end-of-semester evaluations. Students respond to 20 questions on a four-point scale (1.0 - excellent, 2.0 - good, 3.0 - fair, 4.0 - poor, and 5.0 - unacceptable). Shown is the average of all student responses for the last four academic years, a total of 8 sections between Fall 2019 through Spring 2023. 

* WRA 101: Writing as Inquiry (First-Year Writing)

** WRA 1004: Preparation for College Writing (Language & Culture-based First-Year Writing)

Qualitative Comments

Q. As a result of this course, have your writing practices changed? How?

"Yes, my writing practices have changed tremendously. I've learned to edit, compose, and use the strategic writing strategy. This course has changed my knowledge of what standard English means and how to use that in other writing courses, or even in my later business classes. This course overall has been very helpful and I recommend it.”

"I really enjoyed this class. In the past, writing was a weakness for me. The way the class was taught and graded made me a lot more confident in my writing ability. I really enjoyed the research aspect of it and has shaped how I will conduct research papers."

"I have improved my writing and become more confident in it. She taught us that it's okay to have a bad first draft which has helped me feel much better and actually enjoy writing."

"Definitely changed, I have felt like I infuse more of myself as a person into my writing instead of just droning on about something."

Q. What aspects of the instructor's feedback on your work were most helpful?

"There was a ton of feedback on my assignments and it really helped me progress overall throughout the semester. Some things like our major papers got more feedback then, say our reflections but that was just because of the available content to review. I really enjoyed reading the feedback and implementing it in my later work."

"I like how Ms. Kang would take things I shared out loud in class in my grade reflection. I didn't think I participated a lot until I saw that."

"She left very helpful comments on all of my work and also talked to me personally about my work showing she cared."

"She made sure to provide her own experiences within her feedback so it helps to make you feel like she is actually interested in what you wrote."

Q. What concepts, class readings, discussions, assignments, etc. did you find most interesting and/or relevant? Why?

"The class was structured around improving as writers and to do that we focused on understanding the English language and language as a whole more. It was really interesting to me when we would focus on things like the social aspect of language and I really liked writing about it. Also the 3 papers we did were really fun to write. Overall I enjoyed a lot about this class."

"I found project2 and project 3 interesting because they cause you to think about topics you never normally think about and encourage you to write about them. For example I never thought deeply about the English language and its slang, but in project 2 I researched about English slang and it being used by different generations and it made me realize how strange and complex English is."

"What I found the most valuable from this course was the fact that it allows me to evaluate my past and decide what I need to improve on for the future."

"I thought the peer review process for rough drafts was very beneficial for each student. This definitely helped improve papers so they were ready for final drafts."

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